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Us 77, America 60, California 19, Washington 13, United States 12, Maryland 11, Doma 9, New York 9, Karen 7, D.c. 6, Darlene 5, Massachusetts 5, Shannon 5, Linda Campbell 5, The Nation 4, Naacp 4, Clinton 4, Baltimore 4, Calvin 4, Yvette 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    March 26, 2013
    9:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

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>> [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible conversations]
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>> live pictures from right outside the supreme court this morning as the court hears the first of two arguments regarding marriage equality. supporters of same-sex marriage are holding a rally outside the billing this morning. participants we expect will include a former marine who has a gay brother, to give others who married each other in vermont, and the first openly gay episcopal church bishop. the supreme court has to decide on the constitutionality of the federal defense of marriage act, or doma. and california's proposition a. a ruling is expected to issue. this is live coverage here on c-span2. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello, everyone. hello, everyone.
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[cheers and applause] i'm darlene. how is everyone out here lex. [cheers an?building the power oe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for 30 years. [cheers and applause] i am glad to be here with my friend, ellen. >> [inaudible] largest strongest national civil and human rights coalition. [inaudible] with the task force -- [inaudible]
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>> how far this country has come. [inaudible] >> fantastic. we have truly reached the tipping point on marriage equality. [cheers and applause] and let me tell you, looking out at this crowded, the tipping point, looking at you, i see that tipping point and i celebrate with you, this beautiful crowd today. thank you all so much for being out here today. [cheers and applause] >> that's right. let's give it up for all the. thank you so much for being here today. now, we know that only those inside the court behind us know the ultimate outcome of today's decision, of today's cases.
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but out here and around the country, we know that the american people are with us, and they are with us in droves. republicans, democrats, a super majority of our fellow citizens and americans all support committed loving couples having the freedom to marry whom they choose, and whom they love. [cheers and applause] >> and we are proud to be a part of a strong coalition. denied for america coalition, and all that it has done to make this moment possible. it includes not only all of us who are here, but those were organizer celebrations all across the country. or more than 150 events in all 50 states that are going on with us. [cheers and applause] >> and our other organizations involved in the united for marriage coalition like the human rights campaign.
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[cheers and applause] get equal. [cheers and applause] family equality council. [cheers and applause] the new organizing institute. [cheers and applause] good as you. [cheers and applause] glaad. [cheers and applause] marriage equality u.s.a. [cheers and applause] and there are many others all across this country, and our allies right here in d.c. who are working for this moment and beyond to ensure that the freedom to marry is a law in the states of the united states of america. it is for us and we're going to get that day. >> it's true, darlene. we're going to get that day, and this movement is beautiful. it is strong. it is national. it is grassroots, and we're going to get that day. and it is an incredible team, a wonderful team that brought these festivities together. and i want to market as well not just because of the team but because of the holiday, my
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holiday, passover that is here in front of us today. it's more than appropriate and actually we would be remiss if we didn't pause here today to mention our friends and family and leaders and say, pro-lgbt faith leaders, institutions and individuals that have been with us through thick and through thin, through the whole planning process for this day, this beautiful day. let's pause here and give it up for leaders in faith. [cheers and applause] spent that's right, alan. we have over 100 faith leaders who helped make today possible. more than 100 of them. there's been a faith committee working with us throughout the entirety of planning these events. so we really want to make a shout out for all the faith leaders and that amazing interfaith service that we had this morning. thank you all for your leadership, and thank you all for your support. [cheers and applause] >> and while we're at it let's
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put our hands together for all the energy that you brought here to d.c. from coast to coast. folks are joining us here from as far away as california, where are you, california? california, you were in the house. and close by is maryland where i live. where are you, maryland? i know maryland is in the house. from so many lgbt and straight allied organizations like mine, individuals, opinion leaders, politicians, families of all shapes and sizes. i've got to policy. let's look at these beautiful families. [cheers and applause] let's look at the beautiful families. parents, friends, coworkers from kansas to kentucky, new york to nevada. what is new york? i know you are in the house. right on. we are all witnesses to an active participants in american history today. so let's get this party started.
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[cheers and applause] >> let's get it started. all right, let's kick it off. this program that we're taking off today is so special. in front of this monumental building in the heart of the most powerful city in the world, and most importantly, i really want to take a moment to pause before we get to introducing our speakers, to thank you, to thank everyone for coming out on this wonderful day. and i want to also take a moment to thank ellen. we have come, we have some true american heroes that have come here today to celebrate with us. true american heroes. and leaders who are with us today. folks have fought hard to make the gains that we are here to celebrate. and so it now gives me great pleasure to bring up our first
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speaker. >> it is my pleasure and my honor to bring to you margaret hoover, strategist and political commentator. welcome, margaret. [cheers and applause] >> let's hear it for freedom to marry. [cheers and applause] it is such an honor to be here with all of you today on this historic day in front of this historic building. we all know that something special is happening here today, and that's why we are here in love, to demonstrate that all americans have the constitutional right and the freedom to marry the person they love. [cheers and applause] you are going to hear from an incredible group of speakers this morning. i have been speaking to a lieutenant colonel campbell who
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yoyou'll hear from after me who will be the first military wife to be buried with her wife in a military cemetery. [cheers and applause] you will hear from reverend braxton, a reverend of a community church in baltimore, represent the diversity of the faith communities today. military leaders, faith communities, republicans and democrats alike. we are all join together as americans today to represent the freedom and equality that we know that is enshrined to us and the ideals of the declaration and the lineage in the constitution of this united states of america. [cheers and applause] i'm going to tell you just a few reasons why republicans have come around to believing that the freedom to marry is the right enshrined in the constitution. this is not a partisan issue as we all know. as we know, because ted olson, ronald reagan's -- george w.
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bush's solicitor general, one of the founders of the federalist society is going to be arguing before the supreme court that all americans have a constitutional right to marry. we know that this is not a republican versus democratic issue. we know this because we know that marriage is the most stabilizing force in our society. that all americans want to marry the person they love and deserve to have the freedom to me the person they love. we also know that because despite our faith traditions in the republican party, we all believe in the golden rule. we all believe that we want to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and we believe the loss of the united states of america protect us and guarantee this as our faith traditions do. [cheers and applause] we also know that the supreme court has opined at least 14
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times since 1866 that marriage is a fundamental right. fundamental. that is the same as the freedom to be here today to peacefully assemble and speak our mind. the same as our ability, our freedom to bear arms, the freedom of the press to be here today covering us. that freedom to marry is a fundamental right that no one can take away. it is enshrined in the constitution, and would ask that the court hear these arguments and extend his freedom again lesbian americans, our brothers, our sisters, our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen. [cheers and applause] we ask this because this is where the country is going. even a majority of people who don't agree with us on this issue agreed that this will be the law of the land.
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[cheers and applause] 52% of republicans under the age of 50 belief in his freedom to marry. [cheers and applause] 66% of evangelicals christians, 30 and under, belief in the freedom to marry. [cheers and applause] 58% of all americans across the united states belief in the freedom to marry. [cheers and applause] so as republican i'm here today to thank you all for being here and this is republican party may represent the right, and we're also on the right side of history. [cheers and applause] >> let's give it up for margaret hoover. you know, margaret is absolutely. your viewpoint should be respected no matter what. right? your viewpoint should be respected no matter what. however, we condemn hatred and we embrace love and marriage.
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say it with me. we condemn hatred and we embrace love and marriage. condemn hatred, embrace love and marriage. condemn hatred, embrace love and marriage. thank you. our next speaker that margaret re mentioned i'm going to bring up, proud to bring up and be here standing shoulder to shoulder with lieutenant colonel linda campbell. linda campbell will be the first service member to be allowed to have her same-sex spouse be buried in a united states national cemetery. please com, nothing join us, lia campbell. [cheers and applause] -- please, come on up and join us, linda campbell. >> this is an amazing day. you are an amazing sight. my name is linda campbell. i'm a military veteran of 25
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years. [cheers and applause] i know that the spirit of my spouse, nancy, is smiling here with us today. nancy and i were together for 17 years, domestically partnered twice. tried to marry three times. once in san francisco, once in portland, oregon, once right here in washington, d.c. we finally were able to marry in canada. [cheers and applause] for 12 years, nancy suffered with metastatic cancer, and the sight of that frequent chemotherapy treatment. she died this last december. last month, nancy and i became the first lesbian or gay couple ever to receive approval to be buried together in one of our
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nation's national cemeteries. [cheers and applause] our country is changing, and it's my hope and expectation that other loving couples will see their union in such a way very soon. i recall during the last few months of nancy's life when she was on oxygen, she could move only with great difficulty between the bed and a couch, and she said to me, linda, some people would look at me and they would say, why do you continue this struggle wax you have no quality of life. she said, when i was younger i might have said the same thing, seeing somebody like me. but when your circumstances
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change, your perspective changes, too. she said, my quality of life is looking at you. my quality of life is sharing our memories together. it's living in the homes that we created together. that's my quality of life, and that's worth fighting for. [cheers and applause] that's the kind of love that nancy and i shared. we shared hopes and dreams, and health care struggles. we were there for each other in sickness and in health. we tried very, very hard to grow old together. we were together for 17 years, until death do us part. we had the kind of marriage that most people dream of.
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young people, old people, gay people, straight people. nancy and i felt the joy of marriage. we have the love and commitment of marriage, but we could only yearn to have our marriage be respected by the laws of our land. nancy would be so proud and so very happy to be with us here today as we stand on the cusp of marriage equality. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> all of my goodness. thank you so much. and now it is my great pleasure to introduce a great friend of our community, a strong ally, mary kay, international
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president of service employees international union, seiu. mary kay. [cheers and applause] spent thank you, darling, and let me join this crowd in saluting the courage of lieutenant colonel linda campbell, and her incredible stand up presence with us here today. [cheers and applause] good morning, brothers and sisters. i am a vessel to the hopes and dreams for millions of working people who share a deep commitment in the fight for marriage equality. we know that all across this land, our fight for the freedom to marry is tied to our fight for equal economic justice for all. and i stand on the hopes and dreams of a registered nurse who did not want to have to risk her license to call the same-sex
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partner of a loved one, who has been denied marriage and equal protection under the law. i stand on behalf of the janitors and security officers all across this union who have come out and you are sharing with her brothers and sisters a deep desire to have 1100 economic rights and responsibilities that can only be conveyed through marriage. i stand on behalf of the hopes and dreams of all of us who want a more just and equal world, and we're committed to fighting shoulder to shoulder, as we knocked on doors in maryland, in minnesota and washington this past fall, and fought for marriage equality. we fought for voting rights for all. we fought for immigration rights for all. and so many of us here in this crowd today see the freedom to marry as an essential right for all of us in this country, not
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just for me and my 25 your partner, paula, but for all of us in this country that are fighting for the freedom to marry so that we can assume the fullness of our humanity in this nation, once and for all. denounce hate, embrace love. denounce hate, embrace love. denounce hate, embrace love. denounce hate, embrace love. thank you all very much. [cheers and applause] >> i be off message if i took a minute to mention all that mary kate is doing for this movement. to let me just pause and say thank you to mary kay come and thank you to seiu. [cheers and applause] >> let me now bring up, let me now bring up someone who is new to many of you, brad braxton, the senior pastor from the open church, one of those incredible leaders of faith that i mentioned earlier. rad, come on up.
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-- brad, come on up. [cheers and applause] >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i am the reverend brad braxton, senior pastor of the open church in baltimore, maryland, and professor of preaching at southern methodist university in dallas, texas. my support of marriage equality is an endorsement of justice and love. marriage can be a moral good that strengthens individuals and communities. denying access to the fullness of that moral good on the basis of sexual orientation is politically unjust and morally inappropriate. [cheers and applause]
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>> my faith commitment compel me to seek justice for all. justice involves fair access for all people to the goods and services a society has to offer, including the moral goods. as a christian pastor and theologian, i realize there are many religious views about same-sex marriage. these diverse views need to be discussed and debated in a respectful manner. in religious communities and other public venues. nevertheless, my enthusiastic support for marriage equality is rooted in a sense of political justice. marriage equality ensures basic rights. it does not demand that faith
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communities altered how they perceive marriage from a religious standpoint. furthermore, as an african-american christian pastor and theologian, i feel a moral obligation to advocate for marriage equality. [cheers and applause] in this country's history, african-americans were once denied the right to marry and form families. as a descendent of people who were denied these rights, why would i want to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons? [cheers and applause] these rights. finally, marriage equality is a
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celebration of love, in light of the hatred and hostility in our world we should celebrate and protect the rights of two consenting adults to unite in love, to form a family. [cheers and applause] shirley, relationship rooted in love a respective of one's sexual orientation strengthens the body politics and enhance the common good. if we genuinely want liberty and justice for all, then it is crucial for marriage equality to be a constitutional right. [cheers and applause] by saying yes to marriage
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equality, we affirm that the small words all, is really big enough to include everyone. [cheers and applause] >> give it up for reverend braxton. [cheers and applause] >> and it is now my extreme pleasure to introduce to you and bring to the stage brent wilkes, the national executive director of the league of united latin american citizens, brent, thank you so much. come on out. [cheers and applause] >> buenos dias. good morning. it's a great morning. and on behalf of the league of united latin american citizens and over 55 million latinos across the country, we are here with you today.
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we're standing by your side and we will fight for the rights for everyone. [cheers and applause] you know, our organization started in 1929, over 84 years ago, and we have fought for civil rights for our community for over 80 years. decades we have been there when they wouldn't let us have the right to vote. we were there when they separated us, made us go to separate schools. we were there when they tried to trick -- we are fighting today when we see a civil rights violation like we see with marriage inequality. today, we are there with you and we're fighting for you. [cheers and applause] it's the same struggle. we just keep moving forward. now, i have to say that our members across the country believe strongly in this and they believe strongly because they have seen what it does when
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two people who love each other can't get married and they're not given the same rights as everyone else. we suffered with you when we see folks who can't go to the hospital to visit their loved one just because they don't have that marriage contract. and we know how damaging that is. you suffer through that one time, one time only, and you know that's wrong and you've got to change. so that's why we are here with you today. i have a message for our supreme court justices. let the constitution guide your intellect. in the constitution, the right for equality is there for everyone, and we know that. but let your hearts be filled with love, the love between two people who care for each other as wanting to make that commitment for marriage. let your spirit be filled with hope, the hope of family that wants to unite and be together. and, finally, let history be your wisdom. the history of peace moving
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forward, generation after generation, moving our civil rights struggle together. because that's what this is. i want to leave you with final words. marriage equality for all. marriage equality for all. marriage equality for all. marriage equality for all. thank you so much. [cheers and applause] >> lulac is in the house. this is a multicultural represent. thanks, brent wilkes. [cheers and applause] all right. we have with us and i'm proud to introduce from right here in washington, d.c. a woman who needs no introduction. your delicate, congresswoman eleanor holmes norton from the united states house of representatives. [cheers and applause] congresswoman. >> thank you. and thank you for coming out. this morning. first, i must say that i am
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proud today to represent the district of columbia, which along with nine states, did not wait for the supreme court. [cheers and applause] to do the right thing, but simply pass our marriage equality law. [cheers and applause] but i come this morning to call out those who would use the district of columbia and the handful of marriage equality states against the majority of lgbt americans to promote a slow approach. so recognizing their fundamental rights to marry.
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[cheers and applause] the majority of lgbt americans don't live in the district of columbia. or in those nine good states. they live in states that have already rushed to take away the rights to marry at the highest level in their own state constitution. california went further to show what a determined rights denying majority can do, even after its highest court protects the right to marry. and audacious california
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majority moved in against its lgbt minority to do what the bill of rights did. they simply declare themselves -- fundamental rights with proposition eight, and attempted to one up their own high court and take back revenge, the race the fundamental rights of a couple to marry. and even larger, and more threatening majority, in the united states congress has used the so-called defense against
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marriage act to insinuate itself into the exclusive marital jurisdiction of the states to decide which state marriages to recognize, and which state marriages not to recognize. we call on this court today to simply do your job. the court has said that marriage is a fundamental right. the court cannot say today that marriage is fundamental only for straight couples. [cheers and applause] we say to the court, do your job as the constitution demands. do your job. this is one nation, indivisible,
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and the court must recognize all couples. there are no second class citizens in america. [cheers and applause] and there are no second class marriages in america. [cheers and applause] >> thank you to my very own representative, representative eleanor holmes norton. okay, let me introduce the next speaker. let me introduce the next speaker. let me introduce the next speaker, thank you. thank you, thank you but i appreciate that. because i am so thrilled to introduce to you andy mcneill and todd, the fathers of two twins come and it's a beautiful
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family and a fantastic story. helen up, family. [cheers and applause] -- come on up, family. >> good afternoon. we are very excited to be here. my name is todd. this is my husband, and the. and these are my two twins, annabelle and sam. two twins, i didn't need to say that. and we are an american family. [cheers and applause] today, we stand here for thousands of american households like ours who are asking to be treated with the same rights and benefits as every other family. we are hard-working, loving, all-american. we volunteer in our community. we are business owners. we are employers. we are taxpayers, and yet we are
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also voters. andy and i have been together for over 11 years, and in 2009, got married in the great state of vermont. [cheers and applause] regrettably, our marriage is not recognized in her home state of florida, providing many potential obstacles, personally, emotionally, and financially for our family. we simply cannot afford to let marriage in equality continue. we are not asking for anything more than our neighbors, friends and family, but certainly expect no less. [cheers and applause] >> for those of you listening today who may question why marriage equality is necessary, consider this. if your family was not afforded 1100 federal rights as you
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neighbors and coworkers, would you not be here today? really is about equal justice, family and love. because of the incredible workforce like the human rights campaign, the aclu, glaad and a broad coalition of partners, it is clear the tide has changed. americans of every faith, color and background from sea to shining sea have come to embrace marriage equality. in the end, todd and i are not asking for anything more than any other family. is that same rights at all other married couples to protect ourselves, our children, and share our lives in love. over the course of the next several months as this great debate continues in the supreme court and in the public square, please remember our family when you think of marriage equality. know that decisions made will have an incredible impact to families like ours and so many
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others around this great nation. please stand with our american family and stand on the right side of history. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> aren't they beautiful? [cheers and applause] they are beautiful. there's a reason why we are here. thank you so much to a beautiful family. the next speaker that i'm proud to know is a friend and as a hero in the women's rights movement, and actually the head of the grassroots arm of the women's rights movement is kerry o'neal, the president of the national organization for women, whether standing with us here today, on the edge or on one of those msnbc talk shows, kerry o'neal has and she is here to bring it today for marriage equality. kerry o'neal.
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[cheers and applause] >> thank you so much, alan. thank you to everyone for being here. i am so honored to join all of the amazing organizations, the leaders, sam and annabelle and their dads, the call for marriage equality today and for ever, the united states of america. [cheers and applause] since 1971, lesbian rights has been one of now score issue because we know we will never and sexism or racism or any of the other isn't in this country unless we also and homophobia. [cheers and applause] for 20 years, transit activists have marched and protested and engaged in legislative lobbying and supported litigation to achieve equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.
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and we know that equal marriage is a feminist issue. let me give you one example. lesbian couples are burdened by gender-based discrimination, layered on top of discrimination based on sexual orientation. right? so just one example is that lesbian couples with children are about two and one half times as likely as straight couples. and 1.8 times as likely as a key male counterpart to qualify for some form of public assistance. in other words, lesbian led families can least afford to lose out on the over 1000 benefits that come with having the right to have your marriage legally recognized. that's wrong. we're going to work to get equal marriage legalized. we are standing shoulder to shoulder with all of you. i want to give you all a quote, in 2011, then secretary of state
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hillary clinton -- [cheers and applause] in speaking to the united nations, this is what she said. all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. rights are not conferred by government. they are the first right of all people. because we are human, we, therefore, have rights. and because we have rights, said secretary clinton, governments are bound to protect them. same-sex couples are humans, and because they are human they have rights that our government is bound to protect. and by the way, all of our protesting and litigating and legislative lobbying, guess what that has resulted in. we are winning. [cheers and applause] i will promise you this. n.o.w. activists will be
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standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the civil rights and the legacy country and -- lesbian gay transgender committee to achieve equal marriage rights. .. >> keira? [cheers and applause] >> good morning. >> morning. >> everyone keeps saying it's warming up, but i don't know. [laughter] my name is keira johnson, and i support marriage equality. [cheers and applause]
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i was born in georgia, have -- oh, georgia's in the house. i lived in colorado and washington d.c. [cheers and applause] i'm currently residing in the great state of maryland. [cheers and applause] but it wasn't until i moved to washington, d.c. that i got inspired to get married. for the first time, i had met my match. a charming and very attractive d.c. police officer made her way to me in georgetown and asked me for a date on christmas eve. and the rest, as they say, is history. my mother was a champion from the start. however, it took my 76-year-old father a little bit longer to come around. but he did. at our wedding he said: the love that these two share have changed my heart and changed my mind, and i wish them all the luck in the world.
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if my father, who was a very stubborn leo, can change his heart and mind, then anyone can. my partner and i had a beautiful ceremony in puerto rico in 2007 among family and friends -- pert be rico in the house, what? [laughter] [cheers and applause] we were legally married in washington, d.c. in 2010, one month before our beautiful son was born. marriage is about the freedom to create the families that we want. women and girls around the world are fighting for and holding on to the right to marry who they want when they want free from government and family coercion. we are lucky to live in a country where freedom means freedom for all. [cheers and applause] freedom for all races, freedom for all genders, freedom for all families. one of our most basic american values is to treat others as
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we'd want to be treated, and no one wants to be told that they can't marry the person that they love. the nation is ready for marriage equality. while 75% of all voters believe that marrying the person you love is a constitutional right entitled to all americans, 81% of 18 to 29-year-olds support marriage equality. [cheers and applause] today i have the pleasure of working with young people in states like kansas and florida and georgia and texas. the younger generation in this country has an ingrained sense of justice and a passion for righting wrong policies. they are growing more intolerant of discrimination of any sort and are supporting marriage equality in their states and nationally. marriage is beautiful. marriage is hard. marriage is a journey. it is never perfect, but somehow
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it remains magical. in its context people try to be a little bit better, a little bit sweeter, a little less selfish, a little more loving and a little more trusting. marriage is a challenge to ourselves to be a better person for the people we love. why would anyone ever deny someone else the experience of that magic? thank you. [cheers and applause] >> what a great date story. yeah? what a great story. thank you so much, keira. i think you all need to express your energy a little bit, so let's go ahead and do a chant. gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right! gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right! gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right! gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right!
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[cheers and applause] thank you! thank you! and, again, we honor this moment with love. we honor this moment with love! we honor this moment with love! we honor this moment with love! thank you so much for being here. [cheers and applause] our next speaker -- we're going to hold off on our next speaker, we're going to cue up a little dance music, we're going to party a little bit x then we're going to bring you back. stay put, everyone. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> awesome! you guys can party better than
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that. whoo! all right. all right, i got my blood moving a little bit. i i got it going on! our next incredible speaker is an amazing leader in this movement, the executive director of outserve sldn, allison robinson. give it up for allison. [cheers and applause] >> whoo, good morning, america. i'm allison robinson, i'm the executive director of outserve sldn. we are the association of actively-serving lgbt service members and veterans and their families. [cheers and applause] and i'm here today, i am here today representing thousands, 67,000, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender service members, in fact, who could not be with us today. they couldn't be here because their commitment to this country has led them far from home, and
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right now they are standing bravely on frontiers of freedom all around the globe. they're out there right now at this moment, thousands of them, because they've made it their personal mission to defend our right to be here right now doing what we're doing. so give it up for them and say thank you, and let them hear you wherever they are! [cheers and applause] but, you know, despite the fact that they along with their husbands, their wives, their partners, their children are making the same sacrifices, enduring the same difficulties, taking the same risks as their straight counterparts, the united states of america is treating them like second-class citizens. this nation is forced to do that by the defense of marriage act. well, our service members know a little something about defense.
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they know what it means to defend this country and what it stands for, and they know that nothing about the defense of marriage act defends america or defends its values. [cheers and applause] all doma does is make us weaker. doma makes america weaker because it denies gay and lesbian service members one of the tools that they need to complete the mission, something that we have offered to their straight counterparts for over a century x that is the comfort of knowing that if they are called on to make these supreme sacrifice, that their families will be looked after and cared for in perpetuity i -- by a grateful nation. [cheers and applause] and so that means if you are a gay marine at sea in the persian gulf today, that in the eyes of the government the love that you and your husband share means nothing. it means if you are a lesbian soldier standing on the dmz in
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korea right now, the commitment that you and your wife shared with one another when you shared your vows is empty as far as the army is concerned. and so they're out there right now laying their lives on the line for a government and a country that says to them if something happens to you, don't expect us to take care of your families. and their wives and their husbands and their children are here on the home front right now, at this hour, carrying a burden of fear that is greater than that of other families, fear that in their darkest hour they will be abandoned by the nation that their loved ones gave their lives to defend. america knows better. america knows better, friends. [cheers and applause] america knows that that this is no way to treat people who are defending our freedom, our constitution.
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america knows that this is no way to treat their families. america knows better. i'm here to introduce one of those families to you right now. okay, they're going to come up in a second. >> yeah, we're going to take a quick break. >> america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! let 'em hear you, america knows better! >> say it loud! >> america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better!
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[cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ >> memory knows better -- america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! >> let us hear you! >> america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! america knows better! ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >>allyson robinson, let's hear it! let's give it up for allyson, and while we're out here, let's give it up for service members representing our country. [cheers and applause] ♪ >> representing our country, our freedom, our about to be americans. -- our ability to be americans. thank you so much. ♪ ♪
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>> all right, everybody, we've got our moment here, we're going to keep it on us. just let 'em go by. they have the right to their view. we need to keep on our beautiful day, keep on our program, and we've got a wonderful set of speakers. i'm going to bring the next one up. all right, let's hear it. america knows better. let's keep it on up. excellent. our next speaker is something else. remember we were talking about opposing views and everybody having the right? well, we may not be on the same side of the aisle with this speaker for everything, but he has been carrying marriage equality front and center, republican strategist and
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commentator david fromm. let's give it up for david fromm. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. i think i just said that very loud. my beautiful wife, danielle, is here in the front row, and my son, nathaniel, and my daughter, bea. for us, i think danielle deserves special reck us in, because such an important part of my journey on this issue has been the extraordinary and lovely and moving ceremony she gave for my oldest friend, jonathan rauch, when he married michael lye two summers ago now. and it was danielle who made that beautiful event for 100 people. i'm delighted to be here also with my friend margaret hoover who spoke first, you know if? if you had been so minded, you could have staffed this, you could have had a list of speakers entirely made up of hoovers, eisenhowers, bushes and
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cheneys. it wouldn't be quite the republican convention, but pretty close. and, in fact, i speak here today as one of the more than 130 republicans and conservatives who signed ken mehlman's brief in favor of equal marriage rights. [cheers and applause] and i think if ken had had another week, there'd have been twice as many. you know, republicans and democrats in this country have enough to disagree about. no shortage. yet there are many issues that are the property of no one party. the freedom of every american to pursue happiness as that american sees it under the law, that promise signed in the declaration of independence so many years ago is the promise that is coming true if our time. in our time. [cheers and applause] for a conservative the repark bl thing about -- remarkable thing
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about the movement for same-sex marriage is that it is a civil rights movement that is less about claiming rights than it is about accepting responsibilities. marriage is a source of great joy, but -- and i speak here as someone who has been married for 25 years, we'll celebrate our 25th an verse ri this summer -- marriage is also the most solemn of human undertakings. it is an understood taking to care for another person, to sustain her or him in time of trouble, to raise chirp together, to -- children together, to provide for those children, to hour when it comes time to mourn. no agency of government can ever begin to do for anyone what loving spouses do for each other. [cheers and applause] the stronger our families are, every kind of family, the less government we'll need. today your families gather
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before this house of law to claim the right to live as others do; without shame and without fear. the mind of a nation is changing. it's an awesome thing to see. it's a loud thing to hear. it's an awesome thing to be part of. and your words, your actions and your example have power and will overcome. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. this is quite a moment. david frum, you remind us with your work what something that we know here in washington we need bipartisanship to carry our movement through. we thank you for all that you do toward that end, david frum. [cheers and applause] thank you so much.
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our next speaker many of you have seen on tv, cnn and espn commentator, no stranger to our movement, mr. l.z. granderson. let's give it up for l.z.! [cheers and applause] >> hey there, miss maag relate. what is up, d.c.? what a beautiful day this is, right? this is an occasion, it's absolutely amazing. i'm so, so thrilled to be here, so happy to be here. my son would be here, but i made his butt go to school. of because i still believe in education first. i've poured my heart and soul out in all the columns i do and my moments on television, but one thing i haven't shared with many of you is that a couple of years ago i thought i was going to die. i was hanging out with a friend of mine, and suddenly without warning my chest started to hurt, the room started to spin, i was drench inside a cold
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sweat, and i was having a hard time staying conscious. my friend called 911, and when the paramedics came, they were afraid i was having a heart attack. and after an erratic ekg reading, the doctor in the emergency room also thought i was having a heart attack, and so she called for surgery right away. and as the gas was beginning to take effect and my eyelids got heavy, i remember looking up to god, and i had one prayer: please, take care of my family. and when i opened my eyes, there they were; my son isaiah, my partner steve, huddled up, cramped asleep on the tiny furniture in my hospital room. i am grateful that i did not die that night. i am even more grateful for the two people that makes my life worth living every single day, and that is my family. [cheers and applause]
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so i did not come here to ask anybody permission to love. i did not come here to seek approval. i am not here looking for special rights. i am here because 14 times the supreme court has described marriage as a fundamental right and gay and lesbian with couples deserve our fundamental right! [cheers and applause] i am here pause we hold these -- because we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they're endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. [cheers and applause] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. i am blessed to be born in this great country. i am blessed to be able to have
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my health scare be behind me, and i am blessed to have fallen in love with someone who has proven to me time and time again that he is committed to me in good times and in bad, sickness and in health until death do us part. [cheers and applause] he is my world, i am his, and our son is ours. same-sex couples are not here asking for a seat at the table, because we've always been here. we are not here at the steps of the supreme court to beg. i am here as a proud, gay black man from the east side of detroit -- [cheers and applause] and i am here to remind everyone that i, too, see america. and my family, like everyone
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else's, demand our full fundamental rights. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thanks so much, lz! [cheers and applause] thank you so much. our next speaker i'm proud to bring up another person representing one of our incredible families, also our service member community, ms. casey mcloughlin whose wife shannon serves in the massachusetts national guard. casey is here today from the great state of massachusetts. of casey mcloughlin. [cheers and applause] >> my name is casey mcloughlin, and i come to you today as a military wife. my spouse, shannon, is a major in the massachusetts national guard.
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directly after 9/11 shannon deployed overseas for operation enduring freedom and has served this country for nearly 15 years. [cheers and applause] even though don't ask, don't tell has been repealed, we are still not equal. i am now a stay-at-home mom raising our 2-year-old twins. this won't be unusual if we were straight. many couples operate on one income. and have a family plan for health insurance. but despite being legally married in the state of massachusetts, i amex colluded am excluded from the family health care plan. in fact, despite being wife and mother, i am technically a legal stranger to my spouse because of the so-called defense of marriage act. like any other soldier, if shannon gets called into a war zone, she has to go.
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often with little notice. and like any other military family, the kids and i get left to manage without her. yet unlike any other soldier zahn nondoesn't -- shannon doesn't get the comfort of knowing that if something happens to her, we'll be taken care of, that the benefits that she has we wered for nearly 15 years -- has earned for nearly 15 years in service to this country would go to her family. unlike any other soldier, we wouldn't get to go overseas with her because we are ineligible for base housing. and unlike any other military wife, i couldn't even bring the kids to their medical and dental appointments without her because as a legal stranger, i can't get on the base. do we seriously live in a country in which shannon is putting her life on the line
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every day, yet is not afforded the peace of mind to know that her family will be taken care of? tell any other soldier when they go into harm's way that their family will be left to fend for themselves and see how they react. it would never be tolerated! so why is it okay for gay soldiers who have the same families and make the same sacrifices? [cheers and applause] because of doma we are separate, forced into two tiers of recognition and support. the hands of the military are tied by the federal government, and it is now in the hands of the supreme court. but i know these justices, and you know these justices will do the right thing because they have done it before. it was this court that desegregated public schools! [cheers and applause]
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it was this court that struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriages. [cheers and applause] let the same be true in the two cases before the court right now. of we are equal! [cheers and applause] my marriage is equal to any other marriage! [cheers and applause] my children's happiness and their future are as precious to me as any other mother's! [cheers and applause] and if i lost my spouse in combat, i would suffer as painfully as any other military wife would suffer. [cheers and applause] because, because we are equal. [cheers and applause] >> wow, let's take a moment to thank the families! we are equal! our families are equal!
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we are equal! our families are equal! our families are equal! our families are equal! our families are equal! our families are equal! >> all right. thank you, thank you. it gives me great pleasure to bring up yet another family. kathy, illinois and jackie. kathy moreno and her family, a board member from new york. thank you. >> can you hear me? [cheers and applause] my name is kathy moreno thomas, and i'm the co-board president of marriage equality usa. my family and i have worked on the issue of marriage equality for 16 years. [cheers and applause] i am a proud american. i am a proud lesbian activist woman. but most importantly, i am the proud wife of sheila moreno thomas. cause together sheila and i are
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the proud parents of jackie. [cheers and applause] the three of us are a >> we married in 1995 without legal support, and we have created a life. we asked our government to help protect that right. jackie is now 13 years old.
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we raise our daughter like any oh family, going to school recitals, doing homework. we're saving for her college education. more than anything, sheila and i want to be able to offer our daughter the life that parents dream of for their child, a life full of achievement and respect. however, when we suffer the inequity of unfair treatment under the law, we cannot do that for her. currently, we pay tax on medical insurance. it's considered income for us, but not for couples who enjoy full marriage equality. under the current law, our estate is taxed as if we're giving a gift to a friend when, in fact, we work together to gain everything we have. our family exists and needs the rights, benefits and obligations that civil marriage provides. without these rights my wife would have to pay inheritance tax on the life we built together should she outlive me. we would not be eligible to receive each other's social security benefits when one of us passes away.
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we would cut the amount of monthly income in of half, but you know and i know that the bills don't get cut in half. this would come at a time in the life when we should feel secure and proud of a lifelied. the love is -- life lived. the love is already there, the commitment as well already there. what's required is marriage equality. [cheers and applause] the margin between justice and ip justice is growing. it's narrowing, sorry. today it feels like it's growing. [laughter] dem can accuracy is not the law of the -- democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority. [cheers and applause] we stand here today with our daughter in from the of the supreme court of the united states in light of history in the making. we belief in the principles of our founding fathers, we believe in a nation whose fundamental concepts are liberty and equal justice under the law. thank you so much. [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you. what a beautiful family. thank you so much. [cheers and applause] sheila, jackie, kathy, thank you so much. it gives me great pleasure now to bring up a true friend of our movement, as we all are, bishop gene robertson and his daughter ella, the first openly gay establish of the episcopal church. [cheers and applause] bishop gene. >> good morning, lgbt americans! [cheers and applause] and all you allies. we love that you're here. and join me in not being distracted by all that noise. because our focus is right there today. [cheers and applause] i'm here as an out gay man, as a proud gay dad and a bishop of the episcopal church. [cheers and applause] i'm here because what happens in the supreme court in these next
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two days matter to me, to you and to all our families. for too long we've let the religious right hold the bible hostage. you know, the bible they've used as a weapon against us but which actually proclaims god's love for all of god's children. [cheers and applause] and for too long the religious right has acted as if family values was its own possession. of but i'm here with my daughter today to say that our families value love and commitment too, and we deserve the support that marriage equality will bring. thoughtful, thoughtful progressive religious people of all faiths have come to understand that the synagogue, the mosque and the church have gotten it wrong about us and our relationships and that now our families deserve equal protection under the law. [cheers and applause] our families have changed this
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debate and changed people's hearts. president obama, when standing up for marriage equality, said that one of the things that helped change his mind was his own two daughters talking about their classmates who have two moms or two dads. no big deal, right? except it's a huge deal. and the right to marry the one we love matters more than those nine justices could ever understand. so let's be strong and keep our eye on the prize. we can persevere in this struggle no matter what the supreme court decides in a couple of months because we know how this is going to end, don't we? [cheers and applause] this, this is going to end with our full acceptance and inclusion into the life and citizenship of this nation. and even the conservatives, those out there making all that noise, even they know it.
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and all we're, and all we're arguing about now is timing. but time, time is important because we've still got lgbt kids hanging themselves and jumping off bridges. so tonight tell your friends and families where you were today and why. if you've got a partner, snuggle especially close tonight. be you've got kids -- if you've got kids, tell them you were here for them today, then get up tomorrow thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of history and committed to the journey forward however long it takes and wherever it may lead. god bless you all. [cheers and applause] and now, and now one of the great honors of my life is to present to you my daughter, ella
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robinson. [cheers and applause] >> hello, my name is ella robinson, and i am here as a very proud daughter of two gay dads. [cheers and applause] i stand before you today representing the six million children in this country who have lgbt parents. zack walls, who we all know from his amazing declaration of love for his two moms in front of a court in iowa, he and i are the co-chairs of the outspoken generation program which gives a voice to us kids and an opportunity to share our stories. because you know what? we love our gay parents, and we want to tell the world. [cheers and applause] it is now finally time for their relationships to be recognized under our country's laws and for our families to receive the equal rights that we so deserve. we, the children of gay parents,
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are being raised with strong family values and ethics ready to be active participants in our society. as we share our stories with those who are on the fence about these issues, they can see the love in our living rooms and the encouragement around our kitchen tables and slowly but surely, we are changing hearts and minds. now, i don't need validation for my family. i already know that we are a strong, stable and loving family unit. [cheers and applause] but what i do need is for the federal government to recognize that the relationship and life that my dad and mark have built together over the past 25 years deserves the same rights and protections that everyone else has. [cheers and applause] marriage strengthens all families. there's no question about it. we have the opportunity mow to make this country a better place for the next generation who wants to commit their life to a loved one, gay or straight. so until that day comes, i will keep telling anyone who will
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listen i love my two dads, and i love our family. [cheers and applause] our family, our family deserves the same respect and support that all families count on every single day. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> all right, how we doing out here? [cheers and applause] i have so much gratitude for the tremendous life of and work of bishop gene robinson. thank you so much, and his daughter is quite beautiful. [cheers and applause] it is now my pleasure to welcome melba majors and karen bailey. you know what's beautiful about this couple? they've been together for 55 years, and they're from phoenix, arizona. [cheers and applause] so come on up.
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[inaudible conversations] >> hello. my name is karen bailey. first, i want to thank the united for marriage coalition for inviting us to speak today. i am here with my partner, nelda majors, and we have been in a loving, committed relationship for 55 years. [cheers and applause] we met when we were in college when i was 18 and nelda was 19, and at that time we chose a song by roy hamilton called "the right to love." 55 years later, though we may have the right to love, we still don't have the rights of legal marriage. although we have gone through the good times and the bad times, our love and respect for each other grows stronger each year. we loved our parents and took care of them in their elderly
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years. we take our daughters to the movies, we play with our pets, we laugh and cry together, and we often bicker over what restaurant we're going to eat at that night. [laughter] we're a family. so why is it that because we're two women that our life is not recognized? seventeen years ago i was awarded custody of my niece, charla when she was 4. six years later i was awarded custody of her sister, marisa, when she was 3. we are a loving family, and we all believe nelda and i deserve the same rights as any other citizen. our daughters should have that same stability this their lives. a marriage equality law will provide fairness for gay and lesbian couples. we believe everyone deserves the right to live their lives with the person that they love and with protection for their families.
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we want to live the american dream, and we want to have the same opportunity and privileges that other married couples have. two weeks ago senator rob portman and former secretary of state hillary clinton both declared their support for marriage equality. [cheers and applause] now 75% of voters say the freedom to marry the person you love is a constitutional right that is given to all americans. the nation is ready for marriage equality, and so are we. [cheers and applause] like we sang in church this morning, let this be the moment now, let history begin. [cheers and applause] >> hello, everybody. i'm nelda, i'm karen's partner. and i also want to thank the
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united for marriage coalition for giving us this opportunity to speak at this historic rally. it's an honor to be here with all of you. as karen told you, we have been in a loving and committed relationship for 55 years. [cheers and applause] like our song, "the right to love," states, we do have the right to love, and no one should have the right to tell us who we cannot love, especially the legal right. we also believe that it is our constitutional right to marry the person we love, because that right has been, that right has been denied to us. america was founded on the fellow of freedom and treating everyone equal under the law. in this country. freedom needs to mean freedom for everyone including gay and lesbian family members, friends,
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coworkers or neighbors. [cheers and applause] marriage between two loving individuals creates and protects families. we have two girls that we have raised, and while karen is their legal guardian, i have no legal rights to the girls. if karen were to pass away, they would be taken away from me. i have helped raise these girls for 17 years, and it would be unfair for them to be taken away from what they know as their home. however, the law is not on our side. the current defense of marriage act denies same-sex couples 1,138 federal rights and benefits. for example, consider the estate tax. if i should pass away before karen, she will have to pay an inheritance tax on my assets and investments. without equal rights, we are
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unable to leave our money to the partners we love without an inheritance tax. if one of us is sick and in the hospital, we should have the right to visitation. we should, we should be able to make decisions for the one who is ill. i know karen better than anyone else, and there is -- if there was an end-of-life decision, i know what decision she would want me to make. we are can asking the supreme court justices to put the law on our side. we believe -- we love each other, we love this country, and all we're asking is to be provided the constitutional right to equal protection under the law. [cheers and applause] thank you again for giving karen and i the privilege of being here with all of you today. this is our moment in history. [cheers and applause]
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>> wow. touching stories. and what an incredible day. incredible day. our next speaker, i have to say i'm a little bit -- [inaudible] is an incredible person for what he is doing for our movement, and he's pretty incredible on the football field as well. [cheers and applause] it's an honor and a pleasure to give you baltimore ravens' linebacker brendan! [cheers and applause] >> thank you, thank you. first and foremost, i have to say that i'm not here as a baltimore raven, i'm actually here as a patriot, as a patriot to uphold the constitution of
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the united states. [cheers and applause] and also, you know, being that i am in baltimore, i am very prideful, so i just have to show you my baltimore and maryland pride, i want to show off to you guys real quick and hope that scotus takes note of what's going on in maryland. so bear with me for one second. [cheers and applause] >> hold on, let me put my socks back down. hold on. [laughter] you guys are just going to leave me up here with my pants up? come on, man. all right, sorry. wow, my phone just turned off with all my notes in it, so i'll
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have to go ad lib on you guys. wow. [cheers and applause] all right. let's do this. so this is a fight that we've seen before. we've been here before. how is this any different than loving v. virginia? likely i'm a child of the '70s because in some states in the '60s, i wouldn't be here. so i'm a testament to progress, i'm a testament to things are changing. and in the end, love is always going to win the game. [cheers and applause] you know, being a part of the ravens and winning the super bowl this year and being a part of that championship team was a very special, no mentous occasion for me. it was a dream come true. and there's actually a secret as to why we won that football game. and everyone here in the lgbt community and all the allies, you know what that secret is, but i'm going to share it with you guys and the rest of the world. just make sure no other nfl
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teams are listening to this secret, right? so every day i go to lunch with the guy that lines up next to me, and i love that player like he's a family member. we talk about our families, we talk about myriads of issues. and i'm not going to do -- i'm going to do everything i can to not let that man down because i love that man next to me. and so i talk to that man about my wife and kids, and one day that man is going to talk to me about his husband and his kids. [cheers and applause] so i just told you, we won the football game because of love. we loved our teammates more than the opposing team, more than the opposition that all these other people that are against us loved their family members, their teams and their country. and like i said before, at the end of the day, love is always going to win the game. [cheers and applause] now, i do have of to give credit to a lot of the bipartisanism that's been going on. a bunch of people are jumping onboard for marriage equality. [cheers and applause]
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and we've been here because we know that it's not the popular thing to do, that's not why we're here. we're here because it's the right thing to do. and it's our mission. we're not going to stop until everybody knows that marriage equality and the over 1200 benefits and laws and protections under the law are received by all couples, all married couples in the united states. [cheers and applause] we're not only strengthening the family unit, we're not only strengthening the commitments by marriage -- communities by marriage equality, we're strengthening schools, we're allowing kids to stand up taller and be more confident and be happier people. [cheers and applause] we're strengthening america. and we're also strengthening locker rooms all across the country no matter what sport it is. you can play! [cheers and applause]
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now, i forgot the rest of what i was going to say, so i wish i could urn on my phone right -- turn on my phone right now, but i can't, so i think i'm going to have to wrap it up. but i think it's such an honor to be here, and i'm one of the most unlikely of candidates being an ally, and i just, i couldn't be more proud of the lgbt community for who you guys are and believing in yourselves when everyone and everything is telling you, no, you're going to continue to fight because you know that you're on the right side of history. [cheers and applause] you're on the right side of the law. and all of your allies like myself, we're going to continue to fight with you. and at the end of the draw, love is always going to win the game! the game of life. [cheers and applause] >> thank you! oh, my goodness, thank you so much, brendon. [cheers and applause] i love that message! at the end of the day, love will win the game! i love it. love will win the game! [cheers and applause] all right.
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it's now my pleasure to introduce dean of the national cathedral, the reverend dean hall! [cheers and applause] >> thank you. so we're gathered this morning from a multitude of identities, gay and straight, bisexual, transgender, straight allies, mothers and fathers, husbands and wyomings, brother -- wives, brothers and sisters. and we come together from a variety of faith communities, jews and christians, buddhists, hindus and sikhs, people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious. and from all those traditions all over, people who have suffered persecution by the words and actions of those claiming to speak for god. well, we are all gathered here this morning the to say in spite of that message that it is time for marriage equality. [cheers and applause]
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i'm here as a straight episcopal priest ordained for 35 years, married to my wife, kathy, for almost that long. and i believe in god's blessings for all faithful, committed, long-term human relationships. [cheers and applause] i'm also here as the leader of the washington national cathedral, a church that strives to be the spiritual home for the nation. i just started in october, and in january i announced that now our national cathedral will begin performing same-sex marriages. [cheers and applause] it is right, and it is time to do that. as one of the nation's most iconic faith communities, the national cathedral strives to be a house of prayer for all people. a place where all are welcome.
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as we live into that expansive and inclusive identity, we at the the cathedral want to be as clear as we can that "all" means all. [cheers and applause] every person is loved by god. we can preach that from the pulpit til we're blue in the face, but the most emphatic way to say it is to live it by uniting the same-sex couples in marriage who come to stand before our altar. [cheers and applause] now, many of you have felt unwelcome and unloved ors that sized -- ors that sized by your faith community, and you know all too well how well biblical teaching and religion have been used to bolster the other side in this fight. there are many who say that any orientation but straight is a sin, and they pick and choose various verses from the bible to support their claims.
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but i am here to tell you that there are communities of faith, including your nation's cathedral, where we do not believe that to be true. [cheers and applause] we read our beautifuls -- bibles too. [cheers and applause] and we find a different story there than the ones our adversaries discover. in our bibles we see god making and blessing people in god's own image. in our bibles we see jesus eating and walking with people from every walk of human life. the faith leaders who stand with you today say the time for marriage equality in this country has come. [cheers and applause] i also believe that god has given each of us the gift of our sexual orientation. i believe that god has given us the gift of marriage as the best
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way for faithful people to live out that sexuality. [cheers and applause] as a straight man, my church and my government have long given me the right to live into those gifts. those of us from churches and synagogues and temples and mosques who are gathered here with you today are saying our faith communities are ready to extend those rights to everyone. [cheers and applause] it is time that the government do the same. the freedom to marry the person you love is not only a constitutional right, it is a moral right. it is time, it is time for marriage equality. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. [cheers and applause] thank you so much to the reverend dean hall and all of your leadership with the national cathedral. we are so proud of it. thank you so much. i'm here now to introduce no
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stranger to my organization, the leadership conference on civil and human rights, the national director of the japanese-american citizens league, priscilla ochita. jacl is one of the founding original organizations that came to us within our civil rights coalition 60 years ago, and it gives me great pride to bring up priscilla representing the japanese-american citizens league. thank you. [applause] >> i am priscilla ochita, and i and the 10,000-plus members of the japanese-americans citizens league are proud to be here to celebrate the right to love! [cheers and applause] japanese-americans felt the sting of what it means to be treated differently.
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120,000 men, women and children were imprisoned during world war ii. that was wrong. there was a time when in this nation outlawed the right of a japanese immigrant to marry an american. that law was wrong. there was of a time -- there was of a time when people of different races could not marry. that law was wrong. [cheers and applause] today many states prohunt same-sex -- prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. that is wrong too! [cheers and applause] we believe in a great america, a country where every person has the same rights no matter the
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color of your skin, no matter your gender, no matter your sexual orientation. [cheers and applause] in 1994 the japanese-american citizens league was one of the first organizations to support the right of every person to marry the one they love. [cheers and applause] every person. we are a great america, but we can be a greater america when there are no barriers to the right to love. [cheers and applause] for greater america! [cheers and applause] >> thank you, priscilla. oh, what an incredible history lesson, too, reminding us that
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we've come so far, and we have a little bit further to go, but we are ready, aren't we? [cheers and applause] it's now my pleasure to introduce to you chris edwards. chris was a special assistant to president george w. bush and director of press advance from 2005 to 2007. chris, come on up. [cheers and applause] >> thanks for having me here today, thank you. it's good to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. um, i have, i come to you today, and i speak to you as a conservative, as someone who signed the amicus brief -- [cheers and applause] someone and anyone who knows me understands that the two most important things in my life are my family and my faith. i believe that marriage is a conservative principle and is a human right that should be given to everyone in america. [cheers and applause] i came to washington, d.c. in the spring of 1999, and like
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every other intern that comes to washington, i had the hopes of making the world a better place. i immediately got the political bug, and over the next few years navigated my way through many washington, d.c. circles at the state department, working in three presidential campaigns and eventually as a senior aide in the bush white house. coming out as a gay man in my mid 20s working inside the bush white house could seem daunting to most people, but to me it gave me the greatest hope for our country. because of the positive response i received from my colleagues who are policymakers, communications experts and future leaders, i knew in my heart that someday we all would be standing here together united for cause. [cheers and applause] what made the deeply personal process easier for her was that
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i always -- for me was that i always had someone who could just listen when i needed them the most. we all talk about policies, but we have to remember there are thousands of young men and women across this country struggling with this same thing, and all they need is someone to listen to their journey and not pass judgment. [cheers and applause] to those young people, i was once in your shoes, and now we are here to listen to your story. we are all here today because we know that real change occurs in the courts. and with people like you and me. to me, the real news of the day is that we stand together on an issue that united nearly 80% of young americans. [cheers and applause] never before have we seen an issue that unites people across party lines in such high numbers. the politicians know this. every single person who signed
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the amicus brief today aware of of -- is aware of the change that is sweeping across america. as a republican, i am proud to be on the right i'd of history -- right side of history, proud to listen to young people as they find their way and proud to be a part of this wave of new americans that will never be divided on this issue again. [cheers and applause] thank you for having me here today and thank you for your tireless efforts for our cause. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. thank you for this grand showing of bipartisanship. it's a true lesson to us all. again, thank you so much. before darlene brings up our next speaker, just a quick announcement and a thank you again to everyone here. give it up for yourselves! [cheers and applause] thank you for being here. [cheers and applause] also thank you for your incredible respect for those folks walking down the street. we want to keep showing the love. of we also want to keep showing the appreciation for the capitol
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police, the supreme court police and all that they're doing to keep us safe. [cheers and applause] so i just wanted to acknowledge that and say thank you. darlene nipper with our next speaker. >> all right. come on up here. these are people that i love and respect is so deeply. you all, we're about to get a treat. if you have not had the opportunity to meet bishop yvette, this is the treat that you're going to have today. [cheers and applause] bishop funder is the presiding bishop of the united church of christ, the fellowship of affirming ministries, and she's a fantastic speaker and a wonderful mentor, another pro-lgbt person of faith who has been working tirelessly for our rights. so, please, help me welcome bishop yvette flounder. >> thank you. [cheers and applause]
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good morning, brothers and sisters. >> good morning! >> let me fix some of that before i get in trouble. [laughter] that's all right. let me clean that up. i am the presiding bishop of the fellowship of affirming ministries, and i'm the pastor of city of refuge and church of christ in san francisco, california. [cheers and applause] many times in the history of our country the question of my inalienable rights have come before the supreme court of united states. and this court has been asked to adjudicate and rule on my rights as a woman, as an african-american, as a worker and now as a same jend or-loving woman who has been in a loving relationship with my partner, shirley, for 29 years. [cheers and applause] we were legally married during the window of opportunity in california, and now i stand on
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behalf of all couples, our families, our friends and our religious communities to thank our supporters for your overwhelming support for our right to marry. i also stand to encourage the court to follow the arc of justice. as you have in the past so we can begin to put in this issue to rest. can we say put this issue to rest? >> put this issue to rest. >> can we say it again? put this issue to rest! >> put this issue to rest! >> our children already wonder why this is still an issue. and no matter the outcome, we will not surrender our right to marry. [cheers and applause] we will come back again and again and again and again and again and again! until we prevail.
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because providence has determined that the time has come for all couples and families to enjoy the same rights and privileges in this country. and now, remember our faces. i am yvette. this is shirley. i am yvette, this is shirley. we are women, we are black, we are mothers, we are grandmothers, we are faith leaders, we are justice warriors! [cheers and applause] and we have loved each other for 30 years! [cheers and applause] my ancestors stood in this same spot between that building and that building, and i can hear their voices, and i can feel tear blood cry up from the ground -- their blood cry up from the ground. and they sang a song, they said:
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♪ ain't gonna let nobody turn me round, turn me round, turn me round. ♪ ain't gonna let nobody turn me round, keep on walking, keep on walking up freedom, walking up freedom's way ♪ >> sing it with me! ♪ ain't gonna let nobody turn me round, turn me round, turn me round. ♪ ain't gonna let nobody turn me round, keep on walking, keep on talking, keep on walking up freedom, walking up freedom's way ♪ [cheers and applause]
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>> wow. mic on? mic on. wow. what a treat. darlene was right. it gives me great pleasure to bring up our next speakers, mr. craig sole and his wife, a military veteran, a republican with a gay family member, his brother. they come all the way from new hampshire to be with us here today. [cheers and applause] craig. >> what a wonderful, momentous day. craig and i are so honored and so happy to be with you all today. thank you so much, everyone. [cheers and applause] >> we always figured that my brother was gay, but it wasn't til thanksgiving 2007 that he
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came out. he and i were discussing life, and i mentioned that a friend had told me his relationship status add changed on facebook. and my mom's radar had been going off because she just appeared in the room with a barrage of questions about who this person could be. as she went on, you could see the fear building up in calvin's eyes, and i knew i had probably gotten him into something that he wasn't ready for that day. but my mom knows her kids really well, and she always knows the right things to say, and she looked at him, and she said is it a boy, calvin? because if it's a boy, it's okay. and you could just see the wall that he had built up starting to crumble. and she said the same thing again, is it a boy, calvin? because if it's a boy, it's okay. and ten you saw the wall crash
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down as he cried out, yes, yes, it's a boy. hearing the commotion, my dad came in the room, and he turned to calvin, and he said nothing has changed between us. we love you the same no matter what. you are our son. [cheers and applause] when i look at my brother, i can't help but want him to have the same rights i have. but the courage he showed that day stripped away some of the most basic freedoms that many of us take for granted. the idea that loving and committed same-sex couples shouldn't be allowed to marry is flat out wrong and un-american. [cheers and applause] as a marine, i do not take freedom lightly. and as a republican, i really do can believe in limited government. [laughter]
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i can't even imagine what it must be like to have someone say you can't get married. i look at my wife, and i think back to roe v. wade, and it just, it kills me to think that people had to go through that. and to see it happening today, it needs to end. it needs to end. [cheers and applause] when berta, and i got married, calvin was standing there right next to me as my best man. and let me tell you something, when he's ready to get married, i'm going to be standing this right next to him. [cheers and applause] calvin, i want you to know that we love you so much. we could not be more proud of the man you have become, and no one -- i mean, no one -- has the right to take away your freedoms! [cheers and applause] thank you very much, everyone.
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>> thank you so much. thank you so much for those moving, moving words, brendan. thank you so much. our next two speakerrers are going to be joining us together, and these are no strangers to me personally. janet, the president and ceo of the national council of la raza, the largest grassroots latino organization in our country, civil rights organization, and my boss and good friend wade henderson, president and ceo of the leadership conference on civil and human rights. [cheers and applause] >> good morning, good morning, brothers and sisters! make some noise if you love equal rights for all! make some noise! [cheers and applause] i'm wade henderson, president
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and ceo to have leadership conference -- of the leadership conference on civil and human rights. i'm proud to stand here today with my dear friend, janet, president of the national council of la raza. [cheers and applause] and i'm especially proud to stand here in solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters representing the broad civil and human rights community to tell our supreme court that civil rights must, and i repeat must, be measured by a single yardstick. but marriage equality is not only a matter of civil rights, it's one of human rights and basic dignity as well. ..
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and told hundreds of thousands of people about his dream. his dream was our dream. and for those of us who grew up in segregation, we know that dreams do come true. he warned that a great nation, that this great nation, will continue to shake the foundation of our nation's until the bright day of justice emerges. he spoke of righteous power,
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saying it would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. it is in that spirit that we stand here today. the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional. [cheers and applause] unconstitutional. proposition eight is unconstitutional. [cheers and applause] we know it and the court knows it. brothers and sisters, i stand with you today to say that it would be fatal for a nation that has made such strides in civil rights, for african-americans, latinos and asian-americans, for women, for people with disabilities, and for so many others over 50 years to take a wrong step now. the time for marriage equality is now, and we will not accept anything less. thank you so much. [cheers and applause] thank you but and i had the privilege of introducing janet,
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president of the national council spent thank you, wade. thank you but it's a privilege, an honor to be here today. buenos dias. we are together and it's a privilege to be with such an amazing, amazing group of civil rights leaders in support of our brothers and sisters in the lgbt community and particularly the thousands of latino lgbt couples and families who live in our great nation. we are here because like majority of americans more than half of latinos in this country are in favor of marriage equality. [cheers and applause] we are here because last year nclr, the national council of la raza became one of the first organizations to endorse marriage equality which are board unanimously approved. [cheers and applause] we are here because when some of us are denied a fundamental
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right, it diminishes all of us. we are here because of something that dr. martin luther king, jr. wrote to the sesar chavez went sesar was in the middle of his first fast on behalf of mistreated migrant workers. dr. king wrote, our separate struggles are really one. a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity. that is no more true today than ever before. this is exactly why we are here. much more recently, lgbt and dream act activists and coach a prize-winning journalists, put it this way. might equality is tied to your equality. we are here because we do not believe our quality should be in the business of separating families in any respect due to their immigration status, their
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sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter. it is important to note that one of the partners in nearly half of the binational same-sex couples is this panic or to many of those families have children who face the and separated from their parents. and, finally, we are here because there is no community that values family more than the latino community. and for us, -- family is family. [cheers and applause] we are here in support of family and of the lgbt family in our community. and urged the supreme court justices to do the right thing, to do what is in scribed on those very walls up there, provide equal justice under the law. so we are here to stand up and do the right thing. we support families. we support our families. we support your families. family is family.
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[cheers and applause] >> make some noise if you love justice. make some. [cheers and applause] >> all right, give it up for a mason civil rights leaders of our time. [cheers and applause] absolutely. absolutely. working in -- at now give me great pleasure to introduce yet another person who worked tirelessly our community. allison deal as an lgbt rights advocate who contributed to the marriage equality victory in the great state of maryland. please help me welcome alex. [cheers and applause] >> -everyone. i brought a prop. this is a flag my mom made for my wedding in may.
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it said gate on it. i don't like you can see. you see, growing up as a gay kid and a small southern mountain down, i never thought i would be able to get married. i never pictured myself walking down the aisle surrounded by loving friends and family. at the time i didn't even consider that they were legal barriers forbidding me from marrying my future beloved. two years ago, as i was putting the final touches on my perfectly planned marriage proposal, i never thought that my new state of maryland except our love as legal. [cheers and applause] in may of last year, my partner and i walked down and makeshift aisle, a boardwalk at the beach on a small -- packed full of friends and family waiting the yay banners. in august i got a call from a
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friend asking me if i would fight for my newly one marriage rights. my job was to find housing for folks to help us win the ballot initiative. i knew i had to say yes. i accepted the position, not just so that my marriage would be legal, or that all the amazing couples i know in maryland could get legally married. i said yes for all those folks at myself, who never ever thought that these days would come. my friends, these days are here, and we are here together. no matter what happens, we can only go forward. never back. yay. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. it now gives me great pleasure to bring up our next speaker,
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bob. bob is another wonderful member of the republican representation here today. he comes from the republican national committee former chairman of the d.c. republican party. is a sign of the republican prop eight amicus brief, and he's on the board of directors of log cabin republicans. i give you bob cable. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. what a great day it is in d.c. and i'm delighted to be here as an openly gay man who also serves on the republican national committee, and has for nine years. i used to be chairman of the d.c. republican party. the d.c. republican party now endorses marriage equality within. we moved from, 2008 platform for supporting states' rights for marriage, to 2012 actually
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endorsing marriage equality in the nation but also we're all very proud that d.c. is one of those jurisdictions that permits gay marriage. [cheers and applause] i'm also here, i'm to lead to the following some of the republican speakers. one of whom works with george bush. i was an openly gay, what that meant in the early '80s, and the reagan white house. i worked for president reagan, was very proud to do that for several years. i was elected chairman of the d.c. republican party as an openly gay man, and was original chairman of law cabin republicans. as a gay man, i personally support marriage equality because it's the right thing to do. i have many friends have been in committed relationships for many years have gotten married. each of these couples recognizes the responsibility, that come along with marriage. it's time for them to also receive the rights that come with marriage for everybody
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else. i want to thank senator rob portman, a fellow cincinnati in, a fellow cincinnati and a longtime friend of mine, for his courage and supported not only his son, but coming out in support of gay marriage. it's the first republican senator in the united states currently, and it won't be the last. [cheers and applause] so i grew up in ohio, as i said. ohio as -- when i was going up respected people. theithe respective party and everyone respected people's private lives. that changed but we will change it back. so am honored to be here today, and i really appreciate all of your being here as well. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> wow. this event an incredible morning. has it been an incredible morning or what?
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[cheers and applause] all right. it's now my pleasure to introduce to you the first -- listen to this -- the first same-sex couple to marry in the cadet chapel at west point. [cheers and applause] the cadet chapel at west point. please give them a warm, warm welcome, okay? [cheers and applause] >> my name is penny. >> hi, any. >> we were russian jews who came to this country to seek freedom. what i want is no more and no less than what my parents had. the freedom, the right to marry the one i love.
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thank you. [cheers and applause] >> give it up for penny. [cheers and applause] fundamental, basic rights. the same one that our parents had. thank you, amy. in is getting with ms so standing isn't the easiest. but i'm lucky that she stands with me. [cheers and applause] i'm twofold and, part of the first west point class to include women -- i'm sue fulton. in 1976, i raised my right hand and i swore a solemn oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states. but i did not know if that constitution would protect me. in december, like thousands and thousands of west point grads before me, i stood in the cadet
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chapel and i made my commitment to the woman i love. [cheers and applause] you all over to now, don't you ?-que?-que x but in the eyes of the law, we are strangers. my friend matthew phelps hazard in the united states green card for 11 years, and in may is going to marry the love of his life. where are you? he is here. the marine corps is sending matthew to japan. the other marine officers will be accompanied by their husbands and their wives, but not matthew. in the eyes of the law, ben does not count. last month, we buried my friend, army warrant officer charlie morgan, of the new hampshire national guard. the honor guard carefully folded
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the american flag that covered her coffin. there's a moment where the sergeant touches the flag to the coffin, just a moment. before he hands it to the general, who then handed it to charlie's wife, karen, her wife. the new hampshire national guard knows what marriage is. [cheers and applause] they no marriage when they see it. and yet the military is prohibited by u.s. law from treating karen as charlie's wife. we are better than this. we are better than this. as americans we know in our bones what freedom and what equality are. what they really mean. that's why the majority of
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americans, including my aging parents, and pretty much everyone in southland suites in lakeland, florida, who has ever had a conversation with my mother, stand with us. [cheers and applause] we stand here today as defenders of the constitution. we stand here today as patriots, to say now is the time. we will not let another chief charlie morgan or staff sergeant donna johnson, or corporal andrew wilford died in service to this country without knowing that his husband or her wife will be accorded the full measure of our respect. now is the time. thank you. [cheers and applause]
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>> now is the time. now is the time. now is the time. now is the time. now is the time. >> thank you so much for that personal story. weren't they wonderful? [cheers and applause] yet, they were incredible. i'm not going to bring up our future, a young person in out incredible movement who is, i know, we're all young at heart of course. this young man, nick, is here today as a sophomore at george washington university. he's in the house as a representative of allied and pride. and he's here with us to carry a torch for marriage equality. nick. [cheers and applause] >> hey. >> hate. spent i stand here today as a young, proud gay man. part of a generation that overwhelmingly understands that
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same-sex marriage is a human right, not a special write. [cheers and applause] we understand marriage equality is about fairness. it is about love. it is about commitment. we believe the government should about any one of us to marry the individual we love. luckily, support for marriage equality is at an all time high. so i'm excited to see everyone here today embracing my generations of you of this most basic human right. [cheers and applause] our nation is not only ready for marriage equality, it demands it. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. all right, we'r we are not goino move on to another family. married same-sex been some new york, mary jo kennedy and joann, and they're joined by their daughter. [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you very much. we are so honored to be here today. i'm joann and this is my wife, mary jo kennedy. our daughter. mary jo and i have been in a committed, loving relationship for 31 years. [cheers and applause] and on july 24, 2011, we finally made it legal, along with hundreds of other happy couples on the first day that marriage equality became a reality in new york state. [cheers and applause] >> our journey towards marriage actually started nine years ago, around the time when renegade mayors across the country began to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. and when massachusetts became the first day to legalize gay marriage. we were inspired by the media
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images of these happy couples, but we never thought that getting married would be an option for us. after all, we live as if we were married for over two decades, sharing our lives, our home, and raising a daughter together. but it was our 15 year old daughter who inspired us to consider fighting for marriage rights. [cheers and applause] she framed marriage as a civil right, and urged us to get involved in the growing marriage equality movement in new york. she said, this is your chance to be a part of history. and so in the fall of 2004, we were proud to sign on as one of five plaintiff couples in the groundbreaking marriage equality lawsuit in new york, hernandez versus -- [inaudible]. our lawsuit had its victories and defeats and ultimately lost
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in the state's highest court. but our case and others helped lay the groundwork for the legislative victory for all enjoyed almost two years ago in new york. although we are thrilled to be legally married in new york state, federal laws such as doma prevent all married same-sex couples from realizing for equality as it unfairly denied federal protections for same-sex couples who were legally married in their own state. because of doma come if mary jo shaddai, i would not be entitled to social security benefits. if mary jo should become seriously ill, although we have been together for 31 years, i would not be able to take time off from a job to care for her and know that my job would be waiting for me in the family medical leave act. these and other crucial benefits of marriage, protections that
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all opposite sex couples received, and, indeed, take for granted, are united just because of who we are and who we love. it's unfair. it's discriminatory, and it's un-american. [cheers and applause] spent high. i mary jo kennedy. i'd like to close by just saying a couple words about how we got to this watershed moment. whenever we share our stories, our families, our lives, what have we come out and speak up, we change hearts and minds. there is no group that has been more outspoken on this issue than young people. [cheers and applause] yes. their voices have been strong and inspiring. and i'm extremely proud to introduce my daughter and my inspiration alea.
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>> thank you. is such an honor to be speaking at today on this historic occasion. of a half of my wonderful parents. as a child of two lesbian women, i hold a personal stake in the outcome of these cases. i figure real understanding of indications of a ruling in favor of equality. part of the reason i'm so honored to speak today is because when i think about my own upbringing, i do so with such a sense of amazement and gratitude to my parents were dedicated to her family and ensured i had a happy, normal childhood. even the our family looked different from many others. their relationship is one that i hope i have for my own children someday. they didn't come easy though this normal take it as a kid, i remember being pretty confused and shocked that my mom married mary jo is not my biological mother, had to adopt me. to me, she is just as much mama as joann. [cheers and applause] despite the legal and financial hurdles that adopting a post, my
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parents still fostered a loving, nurturing environment. this was precisely because of my happy childhood that i feel sad and anger on behalf of my parents when i hear arguments that gay parenting is harmful to children. it is the quality of parenting, not the sexual orientation of parents that is the most important factor in a child's ability to thrive. [cheers and applause] actually, it's the denial of equal marriage rights from a family that has harmed me. [cheers and applause] to me, the most important aspect is a message that will send to millions of americans are being raised in lgbt families. a decision in support of the quality shows that our families are valued and equal. a decision against equality in turn sends a message that are families are not worthy of equal respect and protection, despite our unwavering bond of love. i hope the justices are aware of the very real impact this will have on our families.
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our families he looked different, but we share the same love. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> what a beautiful family. wow. thank you. so, i understand where almost at the witching hour if the argument could be over any minute, but we are going to keep moving in hearing from our incredible lineup. it gives me great pleasure in that spirit, bring up someone who represents, again, communities of faith coming together in coalition. and organization, the interfaith alliance that is no stranger to the politics of faith and coalition, its president, wilson. [cheers and applause] >> what a day, right? thank you for being here but it's an incredible honor to be with you on this occasion.
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i am president of the interfaith alliance, and then there 16 years and am also a baptist pastor for over 50 years. my first prayer on this day was one of thank you thing for a nation that continues efforts -- thanksgiving, that brings the constitution to his full completion of promises so that regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race, economic status, or any other distinction, people who love each other can get married. [cheers and applause] support for marriage equality is not, not about good religion. it is about being a good american. [cheers and applause] marriage is a civil issue in this nation. and as such should be available to all of the people in this
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nation. it is a matter of constitutional guarantee of civil rights for everybody. now, i know and you know some people oppose marriage equality because of their religion. and the assumption that marriage equality cannot be spiritually valid. i want to tell you, that's not true. as a minister for over 50 years, that has performed wedding ceremonies shaped by holy scriptures, let me assure you that the gender of the person's at the altar does not destroy the spiritual significance of their marital commitment to each other. [cheers and applause] to those who oppose same gender marriage, let me assure you that for our nation and the justices to do the right thing on this issue will not take away your right to opposition to condemn.
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it will, however, usher others that the law cannot be used to impose anyone's religion on the nation. [cheers and applause] interfaith alliance advocates for marriage equality, and has filed amicus briefs on these cases to say to the high court that we want religious freedom to prevail, and we want all people, all people, people of faith, people of no faith, people of goodwill to experience the blessings of religious freedom and the right to live with one whom they love in marriage. [cheers and applause] finally, finally, i know it seems a long time, it has been. finally, the time has come for every citizen to experience the right to marry whom they choose, no religion will be forced to bless that choice, but it will
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have already been blessed by the law of this great nation. [cheers and applause] .. [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much! my name is john lewis, and this is my loving, committed, legally-married husband, stuart gaffney. we are wearing the tuxedos that we got married if on june 17,
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2008, in california before proposition 8. [cheers and applause] and when we heard those beautiful words, "and now by virtue of the authority vested in me by the state of california, i pronounce you spouses for life," we felt something transform within us. we felt for the first time in our lives that our government was treating us z -- us as equal human beings as gay people. and according to our family and our love and our relationship, the full respect under the law that it deserves. >> we're pausing for a moment because they're coming out of the courthouse right now. [cheers and applause]
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> we just pause for a moment as people come out of the courthouse. [cheers and applause] just pause while they come out. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> so in california in 2008 the california supreme court said that all californians, regardless of your race, your religion, your gender, your national origin, your creed, whether you're lesbian, gay,
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bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex or anything else, you had a fundamental right to marry the person that you love. [cheers and applause] because we, as lesbian and gay people, deserve the highest protection under our state constitution. but, of course, proposition 8 took that all away from us. and so we are all here today on the steps of this united states supreme court seeking what the words engraved on the top of the court say, "equal justice under law." [cheers and applause] and saying that we as a community seek the fulfillment of that promise, equal justice under the law. the freedom to marry for all and
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full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and all americans. [cheers and applause] >> i'm here because i love this man. we're here together because we came from san francisco to honor our wedding vows to be together for better or for worse, and that includes coming to the united states supreme court. and i'm here to honor another couple, that's my mom and dad. my mother is chinese-american, my dad english and irish-american. they were only able to marry because the california supreme court did the right thing and overturned the state law that banned interracial marriagings. [cheers and applause] leading the way in 1948 by saying that marriage is the right to marry the person of your choice. that made it possible for my mom and dad to get legally married in berkeley, but their marriage
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wasn't legal in all 50 states until this united supreme court -- united states supreme court followed suit in 1967 with loving v. virginia and made my family legal in all 50 states. [cheers and applause] marriage is a fundamental right. no one knows that percent than my -- better than my mom and dad, no one knows it better than my mom and dad because they were there at our wedding day. they saw the next generation in our family being able to legally marry. we're here in washington to see the next generation secure the freedom to marry for all, equal justice under law! [cheers and applause] >> thank you. a beautiful couple. thank you so much. equal justice under law! >> equal justice under law! equal justice under law! >> say it loud.
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>> equal justice under law! equal justice under law! >> thank you so much. what a beautiful site for these litigators to come out and see all of you! cause -- [cheers and applause] we are here standing for marriage equality and equal justice under law. the next speaker that i'm about to bring up is, again, no stranger to organizing movements. the leader, a leader of one of the largest unions in our country, the american federation of teachers. [cheers and applause] let's give it up for teachers! [cheers and applause] i'm going the give you fran lawrence, executive vice president of aft in one quick second because before i do, it has occurred to me we need to also pause and thank these wonderful interpreters here with us today. [cheers and applause] helping everyone understand this wonderful message that's coming out of this grand day. here you go to fran lawrence.
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thanks again. give it up for fran. [cheers and applause] >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, aft elected leaders and staff who are here today. [cheers and applause] i'm proud to stand before you as an officer of the american federation of teachers, one and a half million members strong. representing teachers, nurses, health care workers, paraprofessionals, support of staff, higher education faculty and staff, public employees throughout this country and beyond. it's great to be here this morning to stand up and speak out for equal rights for all americans. [cheers and applause] we are a nation built on the belief of equality for all, that all americans are entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. these basic rights form the
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foundation of our democracy. they are the values that we teach our children. laws like proposition 8 and doma deny gay and lesbian americans these fundamental rights and betray our values as a nation. as the executive vice president of the aft, i'm proud to be part of a labor movement committed to standing up for equal treatment for all americans under the law. [cheers and applause] unions, unions have long fought for workplace protections and benefits, for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or workers and for same-sex partners. and i'm so proud to stand before you and say that labor submitted act cuts briefs -- amicus briefs challenging the constitutionality of proposition 8 and doma. we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this fight.
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[cheers and applause] embedding discrimination of gay and lesbian americans into our laws and into our workplaces is not only morally reprehensible, it makes no economic sense. [cheers and applause] we must no longer be a nation that allows loving, committed, same-sex couples to be denied the economic and workplace rights and protections that heterosexual couples simply take for granted. the right to join your spouse's health care plan, to enjoy the tax benefits of marriage, to receive the social security and pension benefits following the loss of a spouse, to visit your spouse in the hospital or make end-of-life decisions. these laws also deny immigration opportunities for same-sex couples. the time is now for marriage
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equality. [cheers and applause] for loving, committed couples of to have the same rights as my husband and me. [cheers and applause] gay and lesbian couples deserve it, and the american people support it. [cheers and applause] 58% of americans support marriage equality according to a washington post poll. [cheers and applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the lawyers -- [inaudible] [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> we're just going to pause for a minute or so while the lawyers have time for a press conference. ♪ ♪ [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ finish. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [cheers and applause]
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>> gloria allred. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> all right, we're back, we're back with, we're back, we're back, we're back! finish. >> we're back. >> okay, teachers are flexible. [laughter] flexibility's our middle name, so let me finish by saying again that a washington post poll shows that 58% of americans support marriage equality. [cheers and applause] and i bet every member of congress would love to have that kind of approval rating. [laughter] [cheers and applause] so the supreme court has an historic opportunity to stand up for love, commitment and equality, to say unambiguously that in the united states of america discrimination in any form is intolerable.
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and to demonstrate to our children a that love is love and that we are a nation that strives to live up to the values and promises we were founded on. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thank you! thanks again for aft. and now it's my pleasure to introduce to you marvin randolph, a senior vp of the naacp! [cheers and applause] who's been with us. >> are you fired up? are you ready to go? are you fired up? are you ready to go? [cheers and applause] i'm so proud to be here today alongside these great civil and human rights leaders to say that civil marriage is, indeed, a civil right. it's a matter of civil law, and it's time to put an end to the discrimination their laws that say marriages of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters must be separate and unequal.
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this issue is dare to my heart and that have -- dear to my and that of the naacp. the lgbt and the african-american community are not and have never been separate communities. [cheers and applause] gay and lesbian african-americans are members of our families, our communities and our churches. affirmation of same-sex marriage is simply an affirmation of the full range of african-american families. throughout our history, and i'm sure you all know this, the naacp has opposed customs, traditions, practices and laws, my laws that denied rights to any select group of americans. that's why we fought jim crow. that's why we took the case of loving v. virginia, eventually knocking down laws that prevented people from marrying who they loved in the 960s. and that's why we're fighting for this law to make sure people can marry folks they love in this century, in 2013. that's why we're here, and that's why we're in this fight today. the naacp, and i want everyone to know this here, will always,
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always stand up against discrimination, segregation and unequal treatment of any kind of any perp in this nationing -- person in this nation to defend the rights of this country! [cheers and applause] i'm proud to say that society has changed so dramatically on the issue of same-sex marriage, and in these fights that we've had across the nation. and this week the supreme court has the opportunity, let me say it again, they have the opportunity to acknowledge the beautiful social changes that are leading our nation to greater equality, stronger liberty, and i pray justice for all. [cheers and applause] >> thank you! and thanks to the faacp signify -- naacp! [cheers and applause] and now hailing all the way from california, rabbi denise egger, congregation -- [inaudible] >> good morning! happy passover, everyone! as a rabbi and as
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president-elect of the central conference of american rabbis, i come here to be with you this morning at the supreme court on the very first day of passover to say our nationing is ready for marriage -- our nation is ready for marriage equality! [cheers and applause] this is one of the holiest days of the jewish calendar. it marks the day in jewish tradition when we celebrate the exodus from slavery in ancient egypt and marks the beginning of a journey to freedom. today is our day to march towards that freedom. [cheers and applause] the freedom to marry. and i represent more than 2500 reformed rabbis. we support marriage equality and have filed friends of the court briefs in both today's prop 8 case and tomorrow's doma case. do not let others tell you that all religions oppose lgbt
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equality rights. we reformed jews welcome, support, include and, yes, advocate full rights and equality including the right to marry the ones we love. [cheers and applause] as a californian and rabbi of west hollywood for 25 years now, i had the honor of performing the first wedding in california once the supreme court there found that marriages between same-sex couples was legal. robin tyler and diane olson stood beneath the wedding canopy on the steps of the beverly hills courthouse as i pronounced them married by the power vested in me by the state of california. and -- [cheers and applause] and in 2008 i had the privilege of marrying over 60 couples
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between july and november. but like the plagues that descended upon the passover story, proposition 8 descended upon california. and since that time i've cried and tire he isly worked to restore -- tirelessly worked to restore marriage equality in my state and across this nation. as every clergy person knows, marriage is a civil right in our country. religions can choose or not to choose to sanctify that right, but the state cannot and must not discriminate against its citizens including all of us same-sex couples. [cheers and applause] today on passover we gather here in sincerest prayer. we demand, like moses and aaron and miriam of old, let my people go. let my people go forth to the
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welding chapel, let my people go forth to love our spouses and to marry them! our nation are people of all backgrounds and faiths and creeds and no faith at all, and as recent polling has told us, the strong majority favor equality and justice including the freedom to marry the ones we love. today we want marriage equality restored to california and that the unconstitutional defense of marriage act fall into the dust bin of history. and so we say like the children of israel who left ancient egypt, we on this passover morning and holy week want to leave our inequality behind. hear our prayer, hear our voices, hear the call to freedom and liberty for the lgbt community. the time for marriage is now. [cheers and applause] >> thank you, rabbi! thank you so much. thank you for traveling all this
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way and thank you for giving us your words on this day. what an amazing moment, what a beautiful sky. thank you, mother nature. what a wonderful crowd. bringing up, almost done and thank you for hanging out for the conclusion. we're almost done, and we're really excited that you're still here to hear our next couple of speakers. i want to bring up sarah gogin next. sarah is the daughter of two dads and an amicus signer in the children's voices brief. give it up for sarah gogin. [cheers and applause] >> 1988, kevin gogin and dan mcpherson became only the second successful open gay adoption case in the state of california after a challenging process with the courts. and if it were not for that day, i would not be here standing before you or standing with you. [cheers and applause]
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my name is sarah mcpherson genevieve gogin, and i am the successful, intelligent, caring, catholic and proud daughter of two fabulous gay dads. [cheers and applause] and i am not alone. today there are at least three million lgbt people who have had children meaning there are as many as six million americans who have at least one lgbt parent. [cheers and applause] moreover, of the 650,000 same-sex couples in the u.s., more than a quarter of them have currently raising 220 the ,000 children under -- 220,000 children under the age of 18. [cheers and applause] i am one of these children, and that is why i am here today. today we remember those pioneers, like my dads, who in the face of adversity and lack of legal protection provided by civil marriage blazed the trails before us with their courage,
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their strength and love. and over 40 years together and stronger than ever, my dads' love remains an inspiration to us all. [cheers and applause] today we will speak out, our voices will be heard, and our stories will be known because one day -- this is my boyfriend, by the way -- [laughter] say hi. [laughter] one day we may have a child, and one day she or he may come to us and tell us that she's in love. and i want to be able to look at our daughter and say that she can love and she can marry whomever no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, just as long as they treat her like the little princess that i know she will be. [laughter] [cheers and applause] and as part of gen-y, i grew up hearing and believing that as
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americans we must prepare our world for future generations. well, the time has come, your generation is here now. [cheers and applause] it's time to wake up, america. and today we will look forward towards a brighter future together, united as a community and united as a country. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> that's what i'm talking about. our families count! [cheers and applause] and now we're getting down to the wind-up time. i have the pleasure of introducing someone that i follow, one of the great young leaders of our time, mr. greg sendana, executive director of the asian pacific american labor alliance and a great friend and colleague. [cheers and applause] >> all right, y'all, make some noise, because it's time for marriage equality!
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[cheers and applause] i said, make some noise if it's time for marriage equality! [cheers and applause] thank you. as darlene said, i have the distinct pleasure of serving as the executive director of the asian pacific labor alliance. i grew up in south sacramento in an immigrant, catholic and union household. my dad was a member of afscme, and i see some green in the house, shout out, afscme. and i was taught if you work hard and play by the rules, you'd be rewarded. and if you treat others the way you want to be treated. unfortunately, i learned especially coming out as gay more than five years ago that that budget always true. wasn't always true. as a native californian, when the state passed proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, that was particularly painful and
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hurtful. i worked hard, i played by the rules, i treated others the way i'd want to be treated, and i could not believe the state would tell me who i could marry or could not marry. with support from president obama, former secretary of state hillary clinton and 75% of voters across the country, marriage equality is gaining momentum! [cheers and applause] and by -- and we can't stop, we can't afford to stop. we simply want to marry for the same reasons other couples do; to show our love and commitment to the one we want to grow old with. we deserve access to the over 1400 rights that come from being legally married in the eyes of the government, and we won't stop until we are treated equally. [cheers and applause] we do not have the luxury of stopping our commitment to this fight. our commitment to this struggle. and i can't stop